From Playa Unión, we continued our trip along the Ruta 3 to Puerto Deseado. This small coastal village was originally not on our radar. But at the Estancia La Elvira, we got the tip that this is a must-see place and should not be missed (thanks Aileen!). You will soon find out why this place is definitely worth the detour from the Ruta 3.
We arrived at sunset in Puerto Deseado and decided to spend three nights in a nice apartment to have enough time to explore the surroundings.
On the next day, we explored the Camino Costero which leads to the beautiful Cañadón Torcido.
From there, an offroad-track leads to the Gruta de Lourdes.
The track is in parts quite rough and a 4×4 is definitely needed. On the way, we passed some interesting rock formations that reminded us of Spitzkoppe and Blutkuppe in Namibia.
We were completely alone on this track, with the exception of some local wildlife.
At the end of the track, we reached the Gruta de Lourdes, a very interesting place with a strong spiritual presence.
For the next day in Puerto Deseado, we booked a tour with Darwin Expediciones to the Isla Pingüino. The tour starts in the morning, finishes in the afternoon, and costs 70€ per person, including some sandwiches for lunch on the island.
It took about one hour for the small boat with 20 people to reach the island.
The first things you see, when you arrive there are a large colony of (young male) sea lions and a smaller colony of Magellanic penguins.
Since we had already seen so many Magellanic penguins at Valdés and Punta Tombo we weren’t that impressed with the colony. But new to us was that now many chicks had hatched and could be observed. Something we hadn’t seen so far at the other places.
There were also a couple of Skuas on the islands. They defended their territories very aggressively.
But the main reason to come to this island and also to make the detour to Puerto Deasado was something else. It is one of the very few places in the world to view Rockhopper penguins. There is a (relatively) large colony on the backside of the island and you can get pretty close to them. Perfect for photography.
Rockhopper penguins are extremely beautiful and very different from the Magellanic penguins. As the name implies they live on rocky terrain and even hatch their eggs directly on the rocks. And contrary to the clumsy Magellanic penguins they are very skillful and agile and can easily jump from one rock to the next.
On the way back to Puerto Deseado, we also had the chance to watch beautiful Toninas in action. They are the smallest dolphins in the world and have a distinctive black-and-white pattern.
Altogether we had an awesome day. Darwin Expediciones and their trip to the Isla Pingüino can be highly recommended. Our guide Roxana was super nice and explained everything both in Spanish and English.